Change is difficult. Even if you are engaging in behaviors that you know are harmful or have symptoms that are severe, the prospect of change can be unappealing. At these times, it can be helpful to think of reasons to make those difficult changes.
Progress in treatment can be slow for a number of reasons. For example, you might be experiencing severe symptoms that are difficult to manage, you and your therapist have not identified an effective treatment plan and clear goals, your therapist’s skills and knowledge may not be a fit for you or you might be experiencing fear and anxiety about making changes in therapy.
Sometimes, particularly when people are fearful and anxious, lack of progress in treatment is a result of resistance to the therapy process.
In a recent post I discussed a study that found that substance use disorders often begin when people are experiencing mental difficulties use substances to self-medicate. The study focused on people who struggle with anxiety, but it’s not uncommon for people with mental health problems to turn to alcohol and other substances to get relief from painful symptoms.
Once you begin drinking, using substances or engaging in some other problematic behavior, you may recognize the risks and costs of that behavior, but still be ambivalent about whether to make a change. There are a variety of reasons for being ambivalent about changing problematic behaviors. Change is both difficult and scary. The more strongly you believe that alcohol or other substances result in positive symptom relief, the harder it is to get motivated to change. Continue reading “Ambivalent about Change? 10 Questions to Ask Yourself” »